This Sunday's game against the Chargers will be the closest to a NFL playoff game the city of Las Vegas has ever witnessed to this point.
Through great adversity, the Raiders have fought to win their last three games and secured a winning season in the process. The job is not done for the Silver and Black, though, as they're now on the verge of their first playoff berth since 2016 with a win against the Los Angeles Chargers. While the team is getting back to almost full strength, the Raiders have something else to bank on other than their players this Sunday.
And that's their home-field advantage with Raider Nation in Allegiant Stadium.
It could be argued that this is the most high-profile game the Raiders have played in their new stadium in Las Vegas. The bright lights of Vegas are fitting for this team, which has a 3-2 record on the national stage this season.
"Our focus is on playing a home game Sunday night in front of Raider Nation," Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaacia said Wednesday afternoon. "Hopefully a blackout crowd, so we're really excited about it."
K.J. Wright will play a huge role for the Raiders defense this Sunday – not only with what he provide physically, but with the experience he carries based off situations like this. Wright has played in a total of 15 playoff games in his career, including two Super Bowls. Only a handful of his other teammates on the active roster have played in a postseason game before. While Wright knows what it takes to make a playoff run, he's using his veteran leadership to keep the young locker room focused going into a game with such big implications.
"Don't makes this game bigger than what it really is," Wright said of the advice he'd like to give his younger teammates going into Sunday. "Obviously it's a very important game, but don't get so outside of yourself to where, 'Oh, this moment is too big for me.' This is a really cool moment that you're going to remember for a long time once we seal the deal. ... Just keep it simple, trust your teammates, trust the call. Just do the little things right and just do it with a nasty attitude. If we do that, we'll get the results that we want.
"The energy was really good against Denver," Wright continued as he spoke of playing in front of the home crowd. "You kind of got that feeling like, 'OK, these people getting really excited.' They're starting to sense that the Raiders are getting for real. And I already know that this next game will be even crazier. These fans know what's at stake and the whole city is going to be out. People are going to fly in from all over the place. So it's going to be a crazy atmosphere, a great playoff atmosphere. This is what you live for."
Derek Carr, alongside his head coach and teammates, is grateful to be able to play a game of this magnitude at home. Since the beginning of the season, Carr has encouraged the city of Las Vegas to be loud and active at games in their new stadium – but quiet when the team is at work on offense. He's thoroughly enjoyed to see the energy trend upward from Week 1 to now.
"I think it's going to be exciting. I think it's going to be loud," said Derek Carr. "It's basically our playoff game for our fans. ... What an exciting time for the last game of season to mean so much for our city and for our organization. To think about where we've come from, to see where we're at today with a chance against a really good football team is exciting. And hopefully it's a loud atmosphere.
"Las Vegas, we need you. It's going to be an exciting time, that's for sure."
View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' Week 17 victory against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.